3 Things You Should Know Before Going To China

The Beijing Olympics are getting closer and closer, and more people are considering going to the most populated country in the world to watch. I don’t really condone China and their policies, but for those who want to make the trip, here are a few important reminders.

1. China has only one time zone. All places in China use Beijing’s time, which is GMT+8, no matter where in the country you are. On the off chance you wander quite far, don’t panic when the sun sets early!

2. There are three units of currency. They’re all called Renminbi. The primary unit is the yuan. The jiao is a tenth of a yuan, and the fen is a tenth of a jiao. The latter two are available in 1, 2 and 5 units while yuan is available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. The exchange rate hovers at around 7 yuan per US dollar. You can’t use the dollar in most places so convert quickly. Also, you can’t bring Renminbi into the country.

3. Mind your manners. In China, everyone gets food from a big plate, with each person having smaller plates. Chinese hosts also love to place food on your plate. Don’t refuse! This displays their politeness and friendship. Leave it on the plate if you are full.

There are more things but I feel these are the most essential. What tips can you give?

Sun, Sand and Self-defense: New things to do on your vacations

With the equality of the sexes more evident that ever before in the spheres of politics, economics, and in the workplace, it seems to be a great time to be a woman. Women of today enjoy more freedom and privileges compared to the many generations before them.

However, all is not as sunny as it seems. Crimes against women have been on the steady rise too. Just yesterday, I read in the news of a 13 year old girl who was raped in Detroit. Reuters recently reported on a Bosnian Serb indicted on the rape of 2 Muslim women. Just as the world is opening more doors for us, it is proving to be a more dangerous place too.

Women shouldn’t stand idle while all this is happening! If they are earning enough to buy nice houses and go on nice vacations, then they should think about investing in ways and means to protect themselves!

The next time you go on a luxury vacation, why don’t you consider a destination where some effective self defense methods hail from too. Aside from getting a well-deserved break, you’ll also walk away from your vacation with a good amount of exercise, and something that could potentially save your life. If you don’t know where to go, here are some suggestions:

1. Brazil– the streets and beaches of Sao Paolo or Rio de Janeiro are rife with fun, flavor, color and all things that we love about the Latin culture. However, not many people know that Brazil is also the home of Capoiera. Capoiera is a mixture of dance, martial arts and acrobatics that originated from the African slaves. Its aesthetics are so unique and draw on its rich African heritage.

Capoiera
 2. Israel – Many consider visiting Israel for the Holy land tours- trips that take one to Jesus’ homeland. Israel is also the homeland of Krav Maga. Krav Maga is a self-defense system that utilizes hand-to-hand combat. It applies “real life” context to its movements in the sense that it employs just the minimum practical movements to defend oneself from attack. It is the self-defense method used by the Israeli Security Forces.

krav maga

3. China– While the great wall and the upcoming Olympics are great reasons to visit China, they are not the only ones. Karate, arguably the most famous self-defense method hails from China. It developed from Southern style Kung Fu and is a striking art, involving punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes.

karate
4. Thailand– A very popular destination for those who want a taste of the “real Asia”, Thailand offers wonderful shopping, great food and beautiful beaches. Thailand also includes in its offerings Muay Thai or more popularly known as Thai Boxing. Thailand’s national sport uses a series of punches and kicks which targets the “8 points of contact”. It is so effective that the military even employ it as their form of defense.

muay thai

5. Japan– With the Yen in a not-so-good state, It’s the perfect time to head to Japan to enjoy a taste of the Hariijuku street life, while partaking in authentic sushi and wagyu beef. The dropping Yen has also made the art of Ninjitsu more affordable. Ninjitsu, in laymen terms is “Ninja training”. This martial art follows the way of the Ninja, with rapid and fluid hand and foot movements.

nunjitsu

These destinations are just a miniscule taste of what the world has to offer. Each country actually has its own native and specialized form of self-defense. It is only up to you to ask and look.

The next time you go on vacation, come home with more than just a nice tan. Come home with a means of protecting yourself and your loved ones as well.

Please Don’t Read This If You Don’t Want to Save Money & Go On Being a Broke Loser!

break glass in case of emergencyAs much as I enjoy dining out with friends, seeing the latest blockbuster film, updating to the newest tech gadget, and of course, traveling to the most exotic locations, I am not impervious to the fact that all these things cost money! Unfortunately for me, I don’t have a wealthy aunt somewhere, or a hefty trust fund, and therefore I have to make-do with my precious hard-earned cash.

It would be safe for me to say I’ve tried it all- from the self-help books, to the “instantly- double- your- cash” schemes! You name it, I can bet you I’ve experimented with it in some shape or form! Through the years, I’ve found what stuff works for me, and what should be thrown out the window. So for those of you who have some goal in mind, listen up as I share my “infinite knowledge” on saving tips that have really worked!

1. Set a goal and make it visible! Are you dreaming of owning the latest mobile phone or laptop, or maybe that Safari to Africa? Find a huge picture of your elephants, or your dream mac, or whatever it is that makes you tick, and stick it up to where you will ALWAYS ALWAYS see it! You won’t easily blow your money away if you are constantly reminded of what you’re losing if you do so.

As the old adage goes, “Eyes on the prize”.

2. Set little financial goals that equals your big financial goal.– Chances are, if you get it in your head that you need to save say $10,000 right away, you’ll get frustrated and never even start on it, but if you set your mind to a more attainable, and approachable goal, like a thousand bucks at a time, it’ll seem more reasonable to put that extra hundred bucks into your savings.

3. DO NOT GO to the mall if you have no real purpose of being there! Boredom is most people’s downfall! You have nothing better to do, so you go into stores, just to harmlessly check out stuff, but then you find something you “just have to” get, and there goes your hard earned cash! Not only that, when you’re at the mall, you can’t help but eat a snack, drink a latte and this adds up to even more spending! If you have a real legitimate reason of going, get in there, buy the stuff and zip out as quickly as you can! Out of site, out of mind, right?!

4. Keep your eyes (as well as your ears) OPEN- There are tons of deals that link to anyone’s interest that are available ANYWHERE, be it online or your local community. Personally, I’m really into traveling and it’s probably my biggest expense, that’s why I subscribe to this newsletter that lets me in on great travel deals, and can even allow for 70% savings! How’s that for cool?!A friend who’s an APPLE and MAC die-hard swears by this site site to save on his latest toys. Another friend, who lives for the latest cellphone models check for online deals at sites like these As you can see, the options are endless!

5. Don’t forget to reward yourself! If you scrimp and only scrimp all the time, you may crash and burn in a moment of weakness. So enjoy little pats on the back for a job well done! Had to give up your daily Starbucks in the interest of saving? Get a small frappucino come Saturday, and it’ll be just the right boost to get you going for another week of cutting back!

 

These are my tried-and-tested, swear-by tips, and based on the things I’ve been able to enjoy, I don’t think I’m doin’ too bad. There are other things you can do too, which are a bit on the extreme side, such as letting your mother keep your money (Whoa!Good luck on getting cash for petty things now!), staying off the porn and online gambling sites that unsuspectingly eat up your moolah, or maybe subsisting on a Spaghetti-O diet a few times in a week! Want to get insanely extreme? Quit smoking, or drinking, or what about BOTH?!?! C’mon, I dare you to! Hey, whatever floats your boat! Whichever route you do decide to take though, let me know how you do with them- preferably through a chat from your new Macbook Air, or a call from your latest Blackberry, or maybe even a postcard from exotic Bali!

Traveling with Kids: Three Tips to Survive

traveling with kids is no walk in the park

So, it’s your first time to travel with your family. (Oh, I’ve had those days. And those earlier circumstances never fail to amuse me). You anticipated a glorious, long ride down the roads to nowhere with three- to five-year-old active toddlers in haul, and a loving partner that you wouldn’t want to be without.

You’ve made plans. Packed your bags. Wrote some what-do-to-when-you-arrive lists. Went in and out of your home for last-minute things. And checked your vehicle for the nth time. Everything is impressively organized (or so you think).

To top it all off, well, you’re with your loving family. What more can you ask for? Everything is going to be a cinch. Nothing will go wrong. Nothing will dampen your day. The trip will be a smashing hit.

If that’s your first notion of traveling with kids and your partner, better wake up.

You’re in for a huge surprise down the road to an entire new world that you wouldn’t want to be in (for a few minutes, I guess, until you get your marbles up and about, and working again).

Oh, it may be quite a good road to travel on with your partner since you have been together enough to know each other’s personal antics.

But, with your kids? That’s a completely different story.

What you need to remember is this: This isn’t a fairy-tale. This is real life.

So, expect the ear-piercing screams from time to time. The I-want-to-see-that-too or I-want-to-be-the-first-one fights, the I-am-hungry, I-am-thirsty, I-am-tired, or I-want-to-go-to-the-bathroom situations that will send you faster to a nervous breakdown if you’re not too careful.

As much as this may sound so depressing to you, it doesn’t mean that you have to cancel the trip, and wait ‘til your kids are already grown and mature enough to behave throughout your long road travel.

Here are a few guideposts to make your road adventure more bearable, and (at least) a bit relaxing for your frazzled nerves.

One: Bring Their Favorite Toys.
Whether it’s the latest gizmo gadget around, or the fluffiest or scariest of creatures ever made by man, children would usually have their own favorite toys or dolls that they would ALWAYS like to bring along.

So, don’t forget that teddy bear, that scary monster, or other toys that you know your kids will bawl over, miss so much, or try to persuade you in going back home for.

Two: Keep Them Free from Hunger or Thirst.
Adults can probably hold off their hunger or thirst for a few minutes or so. Typically, kids can’t do the same (and you shouldn’t expect them to).

They get antsy when they’re hungry or thirsty.

So, don’t leave home without eating a heavy meal if you would like to have a better road trip.

While you’re at it, why don’t you grab a few goodies to munch on during your trip? You can have that initially prepared at home. Or, you can just buy them while you’re on the road.

Food is the number one type of distraction that will definitely keep your children busy and satisfied.

Three: Get Ready to Keep Them Amused.
Aside from their toys and munchies, you may also want to play a game with them. Prepare something that you can all do without you having to look at them and taking your eyes off the road. For this, trivia questions may come in handy.

Now, these things are too elementary that you may think that any parent like you would have the earlier notion to do these things to prepare for that travel in a more convenient manner. Fact is, there are many who are still harassed; others may appear nonchalant.

So, keep your eyes on the road. But don’t forget to keep your children safe, happy, full, and satisfied just like how you and your partner would like to feel about this trip. Keep it cheesy and adventurous. And ditch the possible hassles that you will encounter.

Why am I telling you all these things? Let’s just say I had an eye-opening encounter with the unknown…er… with my own children when they were a lot younger than they are now.

EXPERIENCE is still the best mentor. 🙂